It’s been 10 years since Kanye West released his multi-platinum third studio album, Graduation, which notably featured the larger-than-life Daft Punk-sampling lead single “Stronger.”
The track leans heavily on the robotic French duo’s Discovery song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” which had only been released six years earlier, helping both acts rise to a new level in the process.
West has credited Canadian DJ and producer, A-Trak — who served as his personal tour DJ in the early 00s — for expanding his sound on Graduation. And, backstage at this year’s Meadows Festival in New York, A-Trak explained how that collaboration flourished including a introduction to that Daft Punk song.
“In those years, genres were a lot more separated,” he says. “You got to credit Kanye’s curiosity period. One of Kanye’s great strengths is identifying these [great] things.”
After hearing “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” West immediately wanted to sample the song, something A-Trak was adamantly against at first. “My reaction was, ‘This is an international hit… you might not know it but [other people do].’ I was afraid it would come off cheap,” the DJ explains.
But hearing that West had completely flipped the song into his own by adding chords, slowing it down and really turned into a “futuristic hip hop beat.”
“Stronger” ultimately won best rap solo performance at the Grammys, has been certified 7x platinum and hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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